Downtown Lawrence may not be done growing up yet.
A Lawrence-based development group is working on a deal to construct a six-story building to house a Marriott hotel at Ninth and New Hampshire streets.
A representative for a development group led by Lawrence businessmen Doug Compton and Mike Treanor confirmed the group is finalizing plans to build on the vacant lot next to the Lawrence Arts Center at the southeast corner of Ninth and New Hampshire.
“We think it will add a great amenity to help attract people to come to Lawrence and stay in Lawrence,” said Bill Fleming, an attorney for Treanor Architects. “It will add to the vibrancy of downtown.”
The project would include:
- An 81-room TownePlace by Marriott on the top three floors of the building. The hotel would be geared toward “extended-stay” visitors — think everything from visiting professors to parents visiting their children — who want a hotel suite that features a kitchen and other house-like amenities.
- 36 apartments on the second and third floor of the building. The apartments would be a mix of studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units.
- A restaurant and wine bar on the ground floor, plus the hotel lobby, which would be on the south end of the building near the Lawrence Arts Center.
- Two levels of underground parking to provide about 120 spaces for the hotel and other uses. The project likely would use the public parking garage that is across the street from the project to meet some of the parking demand created by apartment tenants and their guests, Fleming said.
- A glass-enclosed roof-top swimming pool and patio area.
Fleming stressed that a deal for the development hasn’t been finalized yet with Marriott or other partners, but the project is far enough along that members of the East Lawrence Neighborhood Association were presented some plans on Tuesday.
Compton and Treanor are the lead developers for a seven-story building under construction at the southwest corner of Ninth and New Hampshire streets. That building is a mixture of a health club, office and apartment uses.
Fleming said pre-leasing of those apartments had gone well, and had reinforced the idea that there is a growing market of people who want to live in Downtown Lawrence.
“There is a desire, a demand, a population that likes the idea of being able to live in downtown and walk to the stores and restaurants,” Fleming said. “They’re looking for an experience that is different than living in the suburbs or on the edge of town in an apartment complex.”
The hotel project, though, will face questions from East Lawrence residents, said Leslie Soden, president of the East Lawrence Neighborhood Association. She said residents already have concerns about the height of the project. She said this building — unlike the one directly across the street — will tower over residential properties east of New Hampshire Street.
“Living across the alley from a six-story building is going to create a lot of questions,” Soden said.
Fleming said the development group plans to have a meeting with the neighborhood to hear those concerns. He said the development is trying to be sensitive to the neighborhood. Fleming said the building — slated to be about 70 feet tall — is shorter than both the U.S. Bank Tower and the new building under construction. He said there are design elements of the building — the group declined to release a rendering — that will address some of the concerns.
“But part of this is that it is downtown and it is supposed to be more dense,” Fleming said. “We want this kind of density for downtown because this is what will add people to the area.”
The project doesn’t have an official time line yet. The development group has not yet formally submitted any plans to City Hall. The project will require standard Planning Commission and City Commission approval, but also will require approval by the city’s Historic Resources Commission.